Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Growing, Harvesting and Preserving Parsley

If you follow my blog, you know I really enjoy herbs. One herb most gardeners consider essential is parsley and it's easy to grow. There's no reason why anyone can't grow their own parsley even if you live in an apartment. It tastes great in soups and with chicken and has other uses and growing your own is much cheaper than buying it fresh at the store every time you want to cook with it.

Now, if you want instant gratification, you can buy plants everywhere from Lowe's to the grocery store. However, I'm cheap so I prefer to buy seeds. I've had no problem growing parsley from seeds, it just takes a little longer for the seeds to sprout. Be patient! Parsley has no unusual needs, just decent soil, water and full sun.

The plants on the bottom left corner are healthy parsley plants grown from seeds. The flowering plant is a second year plant that is just going to seed without much in the way of leaves to harvest. 

One interesting fact about Parsley is that it's a biennial - meaning it lives two years. If you grow it outside, it will come back for a second year. However, when it comes back the second year, it will just set seeds without much of the foliage you want for eating. The only reason to encourage the plant the second year is if you want to harvest the seeds. My approach is to buy a small packet of seeds every spring and plant a few weeks before the final frost date.

To harvest parsley, just pick the leaves you need for the recipe you;re making when you need them. Parsley will stay fresh in the fridge for several days, especially if you put it in water. To dry parsley, just tie them in bunches and hang them upside down in a dry, ventilated, dark place for a few weeks. Easy peasy.

The nice thing about parsley is that it grows great in containers as well, so if all you have is a sunny windowsill, then you can still grow it. Do you grow your own parsley? Feel free to write about it in the comments below!

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